The following books, articles and working papers have been published by members of our Research Committee or External Consultants
The following books have been published by members of our Research Committee or External Consultants:
Kelton, Stephanie 2020. The Deficit Myth Modern Monetary Theory and How to Build a Better Economy.
Lawn, Philip 2016 Resolving the Climate Change Crisis The Ecological Economics of Climate Change.
Hail, Steven 2018 Economics for Sustainable Prosperity
Kaboub, Fadhel et al (ed) 2021 (forthcoming) Economic and Monetary Sovereignty in 21st Century Africa
Modern Money Lab Working Paper, No 1 May 2021 – Steven Hail
In January 2020, a three-day conference was held in Adelaide, South Australia, which was attended by more than 400 existing and potential new activists, with those existing activists drawn from both major progressive political parties, many trade unions, and a wide variety of more or less radical campaigning organisations. The conference was unusual, in that it took place entirely within one hall, and was deliberately structured to take people on a journey. The objective was to empower, educate and enthuse attendees with a vision of what is possible, in Australia and elsewhere, if the political and institutional hurdles can be overcome in time to build a future which is both ecologically sustainable and just.
Along the way, a series of bridges were built, between modern monetary theorists and ecological economists; between ecological activists, first nations speakers and union leaders representing mining communities; between members of competing political parties; and between people with disparate views on what a just green transition ought to involve, and the appropriate role for the fiscal authority in planning and facilitating such a transition.
This paper is a reflection on the journey, which among other things involved a description of how neoliberalism functions in Australia; a rejection of the New Keynesian macroeconomics which supports it; the acceptance of the core precepts of ecological economics; the advocacy for a just federal job guarantee; and the use of modern monetary theory as the appropriate lens to use when discussing the pay for question regarding the real resource investments needed to deliver a Green New Deal.
Modern Money Lab Working Paper, No 2 – Philip Lawn
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: PROGRESSING IN RECENT YEARS AND OUTPERFORMING THE REST-OF-AUSTRALIA
Associate Professor Philip Lawn Centre of Full Employment and Equity University of Newcastle
Report prepared on behalf of the Wakefield Futures Group for the South Australian Department of Environment, Water, and Natural Resources
“The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined by GDP… Goals for ‘more’ growth should specify of what and for what.”
Simon Kuznets, one of the fathers of modern national accounting and an original architect of GDP
“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things… The GNP counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage… Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play… It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
Robert F. Kennedy
Modern Money Lab Working Paper, No 3 – Lachlan C. McCall
This paper represents the views of its author and not the views of the Australian Treasury.
The rise of modern monetary theory (MMT) has sparked debate among economists concerning whether governments empowered by money-financed fiscal policy can be relied upon to manage inflation and public finances responsibly given political pressures. While MMT economists stress MMT simply illustrates the fact all expenditure by currency issuers is already money-financed rather than proposing some new ‘money printing policy’, and the price-stabilising functions of the Employment Buffer Stock or Job Guarantee proposal (Employer of Last Resort), and the importance of maximising automatic stabilisers and reducing reliance on discretionary fiscal policy, improvements to the policy functions and role of the semi-independent central bank have received relatively little attention, with MMT economists regarding conventional and unconventional monetary policy alike as largely impotent.
This paper explores a new potential counterinflationary policy mechanism for central banks, based on Australia’s present compulsory superannuation—or retirement savings—system, and the literature on the use of savings and deferred consumption in wartime inflation management, particularly John Maynard Keynes’ How to Pay for the War. The paper finds that with discretionary fiscal tightening on both the revenue and expenditure sides politically difficult, and conventional monetary policy inefficient, ineffective and inequitable, empowering central banks with an adjustable mandatory savings rate could prove an effective and politically feasible potential complement to the automatic stabiliser and sector-specific inflation management approach favoured by MMT economists.
Modern Money Lab Working Paper, No 4 – Matthew Crocker
The recent expansion of most countries’ debt issuance programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the issue of sovereign debt sustainability back into focus. Traditional macroeconomic theory suggests that the size of a sovereign’s debt burden affects its credit rating. While the relationship between sovereign credit ratings and the yields on sovereign bonds has received much attention, this paper considers the effect of monetary sovereignty. This investigation aims to answer the question, what effect does monetary sovereignty have on the yields of ten-year sovereign bonds?
By examining the yields on ten-year sovereign bonds for a panel of 28 OECD countries from 2000 to 2020, this investigation argues that credit rating announcements (CRA) for sovereigns with a high degree of monetary sovereignty do not have a statistically significant effect on their yield. The panel of countries was divided into two sub-samples; those with low monetary sovereignty and those with a high degree of monetary sovereignty. A simple event study was applied to each country to analyse the effect of a CRA on the yield of that sovereign’s ten-year bond over a three day window. The results were then aggregated to calculate the average change in the yield for countries with low monetary sovereignty (non-MS), and for those with a high degree of monetary sovereignty (MS). It was found that following a credit rating upgrade, there is a statistically significant difference in the yield spread between the non-MS and MS groups. Additionally, a credit rating downgrade affects the yield on sovereign bonds for non-MS countries, but does not have a statistically significant effect on MS countries. The monetary sovereignty perspective is not new, yet it has received little academic attention. This is the first known occasion where the effect of monetary sovereignty has been controlled for when assessing the relationship between CRAs and sovereign
Modern Money Lab Working Paper, No 5 – Steven Hail
There are two broadly defined approaches to the study of how modern economies work, what drives their evolution over time, and what role, if any, government policies can play in ensuring economic outcomes serve the public purpose.
Most policy makers, and many of the economists who advise them, are aware of only one of these approaches, often referred to as orthodox, mainstream or neoclassical macroeconomics.
Although this prevailing orthodoxy is not the central concern of the book, it cannot simply be ignored. The lack of realism at its core makes it unsuitable and misleading as a frame for the study of modern capitalism. It incorporates unrealistic axioms about how people can and do make sense of the world, make decisions, and develop feelings of well-being; and also about the ways key economic institutions work and about the stability of the economy as a whole. It is neither the study of people as they are, nor of the economic system as it actually exists.
The limitations of orthodox macroeconomics are illustrated in chapter one with reference to a series of recent statements by economists and policy makers about economic policy and financial markets which are demonstrably incorrect, but are a consequence of thinking within the frame of the orthodox model.
A number of leading academic and policy economists have admitted that orthodox macroeconomics is in trouble, but they have been remarkably resistant to any serious consideration of the alternative approach, usually described as Post-Keynesian economics, even though not all heterodox economists are Post-Keynesians.
A central concern of this book is a discussion and evaluation of a development which emerged out of Post-Keynesian economics during the 1990s, called modern monetary theory (MMT), and its role, alongside insights derived from modern behavioural economics, in the construction of a future offering everyone ‘a decent quality of life with dignity and the opportunity to be a member of an inclusive, participatory and just society’.
Ronald Coase said, in 2012, that ‘knowledge will only come if economics can be reoriented to the study of man as he is and the economic system as it actually exists’. Modern monetary theory describes our monetary economy as it actually exists. Behavioural economics describes people as they are. We need them both, as foundations of a new macroeconomic framework for sustainable prosperity.